the famous

Child Star Dakota Went Bi For The Runaways. Can She Survive the Hollywood Stigma?

Doe-eyed six-year-old Dakota Fanning made her career by playing the wise-beyond-her-years girl in heartwarming films like I Am Sam, The Cat in the Hat, and Charlotte’s Web. So now that she’s 16, playing bisexual rocker Cherie Currie, and tongue-kissing her costar in the Joan Jett biopic The Runaways, will she stay as adorable in the eyes of her fans, or get typecast as a rough-around-the-edges lipstick lezzie?

The Runaways tells the story of adolescent she-rockers Joan Jett and Cherie Currie who struggled with sexism, drugs, and sex to make it in the male-dominated world of 1970s rock. In the film, Fanning kisses her co-star Kristen Stewart in a roller rink, a scene inspired by a comment from the real-life Curie. In the 2004 documentary Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways, Curie says:

“Of course back in the 70’s there was this whole thing going on with bisexuality. David Bowie had come out of the closet, Elton John. And of course, I was such a Bowie fan, I had to… check that out. And that was all part of the magic I believe of that year in music and the free sex, free-minded experimentation and I did… I had a couple of fun times with Joan. And She was good too… really good! (Laughs) With Sandy too, y’know… but I don’t wanna mention it… OK, and Sandy wasn’t half-bad either (laughs). Am I bad?”

A lesbian kiss is pretty tame in a film that has Fanning stripping for cash, breaking shit, and suggestively singing “Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-CHERRY BOMB!” But when you consider that most of the original actors from the 2006 film Another Gay Movie didn’t return for the horribly ad-ridden 2008 sequel (because their agents didn’t want them typecast in gay roles?), Fanning’s decision seems all the braver. Also: Less campy.

Granted, the boys from Another Gay Movie weren’t nearly as established as Ms. Fanning, but by playing gay on film, the teenage actress is continuing the more recent trend of child actors taking a queer turn — whether on screen or in real life — in their adolescence. Home Alone‘s Macaulay Culkin played murderous gay club kid Michael Alig in the 2003 Party Monster. Lindsay Lohan got gay with Samantha Ronson after playing in a slew of remakes of Disney classics. Even New Moon heartthrob Taylor Lautner is keeping his sexuality up for grabs in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.

Might bisexual roles be the new rite of passage for young Hollywood? Possibly. But what’s the last Macaulay Culkin or Lindsay Lohan film you saw?

Culkin and Lohan both have messier public images that have tossed them into the cliche bin of “messed up child actors,” but Fanning, who is squeaky clean in comparison, has a chance here to really foster greater acceptance of ostensibly straight actors playing LGBT characters without fear of Hollywood backlash (read: starring opposite Paris Hilton in a straight-to-DVD flick).

As the real-life Curie says, it’s all about experimentation. When asked about the incredible freedom she had as a 15-year-old rock neophyte, she said:

“Well, I don’t think the Runaways could have happened under [modern] circumstances. And our band was a milestone. Thank God we had the parents that we had because I can tell you, being the mother of a 19-year-old, there isn’t a chance I would have let [everything that happened to me] happen. But we made history. So it’s a double-edged sword.

“We experimented. We weren’t in love with each other. We just had fun. I like that it’s in the film. So many kids go through these serious guilt trips. I want them to know it’s okay.”

The real-life Currie now does chainsaw art.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #anothergaymovie #celebs/celebrities stories and more


  • Aaron

    Survive the Hollywood stigma? Kid is trying to grow up too fast.

  • Cam

    Um, what stigma is there for straight actors to play Bi or Gay? In the last decade it’s a good way to get nominated for an award, but minimum these days I’m not seeing a stigma for straight actors playing gay.

    Starting with Colin Firth, nominated this year for best actor for “A Single Man”
    The cast of Brokeback had no trouble after,
    Sean Penn “Milk”
    Kate Winslet “Heavenly Creatures”
    Sharon Stone stayed around longer than she should have after Basic instinct
    Tom hanks “Philidelphia”
    Julianne Moore “The Hours”
    Clive Ownes “Bent”
    Merryl Streep “Manhattan”
    Greg Kinnear Nominated for “as Good as it Gets”
    Liam Neeson “Kinsey”
    Steven Weber “Jeffrey”
    Cloe Sevigny “If These Walls Could Talk 2”
    Kevin kline “In and Out”
    Amy Adams “Standing Still”
    Matt Damon “Talented Mr. Riply”
    Emily Blunt “My Summer of Love”
    Dennis Quaid “Far from Heaven”
    Jason Alexander “Love Valour Compassion”
    Russel Crowe in “Sum of Us”
    Forrest Whitiker in “Ready To wear”
    Robert Redford “Inside Daisy Clover”
    Michael C. Hall “Six Feet under”
    Christopher Meloni “Oz”
    Steve Buscemi “Parting Glances

  • valerie

    How is Lindsay Lohan’s relationship with a woman a “bi role”?

  • DR

    One of the things you miss, Queerty, aside from the list of actors who have played gay or bi…this is a pseudo-biopic film. No one is making any of this up. Jett is out, Currie is bisexual (or was at least bi-curious at the time she was performing).

    the other thing you miss? Culkin and Lohan went for fame and not for acting. Their issues are a lot larger than the potential “are they or aren’t they” a role like this might generate.

  • Zach

    It should also be noted Fanning’s family is a lot more stable (or so it seems anyway) than either Culkin’s or Lohan’s families were, part of the reasons their careers faltered and in Lohan’s case, why she has become a train wreck.

  • alan brickman

    Dakota is a great gay icon….embrace her…

  • jason

    If a woman plays bi, the cultural elites say that she’s “hot”.

    If a man plays bi, the cultural elites say the he’s “confused” or “really gay”.

    Therein you have the bisexual double standard, folks. It’s the basis of liberalism from the 1950’s onwards.

  • Louie

    Oh Jason, just shut up! We all know that you enjoy discriminating against bisexual women, as you post your opinions on any article to do with lesbian/bi women. We all know what you think so just drop it!

    So we throw tantrums when there aren’t enough LGBT characters portrayed in film and television, and then we discuss how, when an actress (so what if she’s young!) plays a bisexual role, her career is doomed? Because that makes a lot of sense.

    Lastly, I’ll bring to the table Hilary Swank. She played a transexual character in a Boys Don’t Cry in 1999 before she was well known. That wasn’t just a lesbian kiss; there was an explicit sex scene with Chloe Sevigny. And, well, look where Swank is now! She even won an oscar for that.

    I won’t go as far to say that The Runaways will help Dakota’s career because it’s hardly a masterpiece of a film, but I certainly don’t think it will hurt her career. As long as it doesn’t compromise the strength of her acting in the film (I can’t see how it would) then I can’t see why anyone would really care about this tame lesbian kiss.

  • gomez

    Jason you are so predictable. i guess the movie should’ve just dropped the whole girl/girl thing which really happened, just to make you happy.

    and guess what, this movie looks hot.

  • Cam


    Real bi-sexuals don’t go around trying to find insults where none existed. Only people desperate to maintain some sort of an identity that they aren’t sure about would do that. Here’s an idea, you know how you can convince everybody you’re desperate to convince insluding yourself that you’re a proud bisexual? Go out and be a proud bisexual. Go to a straight bar, meet a nice girl, take her out and date her, go out to a gay bar, meet a nice guy and date him. Date them maybe you’ll like one, or the other for long term, maybe you won’t, and if you don’t go out and meet some more. There you go. coming in here and screaming about how downtrodden bisexuals are just makes it sound like you’re trying to convince yourself more than anybody else.

  • $0.02

    Actually I think Jason has a point. We are confusing Hollywood for the general public. Yes men who have played gay/bi if they’ve done it well ala Sean Penn(Milk), Will Smith(Six Degrees of Separation), Tom Hanks(Philadephia) will get accolades from artists and the like in the business but the mass public probably won’t take on very well and focus on male/male love/sex as “nasty” or “disgusting” or any other non-sense you can drum up. Whereas if you have a woman playing a lesbian/bi role, if she is attractive, those labels don’t tend to surface all that much. I’m not bi I’m gay but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Look at real life examples. Megan Fox, Lady Gaga (with the exception of her recent video), and even Ki$ha (of all people) when they said they were bi not much was made of it. Gay rocker Adam Lambert, an unapologetic gay man who displays his sexuality the way any straight male “artist” does, people are coming with pitch forks ready to hang him. I think there is a double standard with male bisexuality and female bisexuality. But that’s just me…

  • DR


    From what I’ve read i other interviews, it’s not an explicit scene. Kristen Stewart chuckled over the fact she had to be “very appropriate” when kissing Fanning due to child labor law issues! It was just a kiss, it’s not an integral part of the film, it’s not a heavy plot part. Much like in real life, they kissed, it happened, they moved on, and life went on.

Comments are closed.